The Five Hardest-To-Watch Teams in the NBA
All teams are not created equal.
While some teams are consistently a pleasure to watch, others' broadcasts should become legally recognized forms of torture. Some have made the list because their seasons have become underachieving atrocities, others because they are without direction.
Any guess as to who's No. 1?
5) New Jersey Nets
Yes, they’re ranked fifth.
There is far less displeasure in watching your team lose every night when you actually expect it. Fans can only ask for two things from their teams: to play to their talent level and to be consistent.
The Nets deliver on both.
Sure, they are on track to equal the worst record in the history of the NBA, but come on—at least they’re making history. Given their roster, the Nets' lack of success is far more excusable than the other teams we’ll get to in a moment.
Besides, you may laugh when I say this but the Nets really aren’t that bad for entertainment purposes. Think reverse psychology.
Detroit Lions fans had a ball chanting, “Oh and 16!” as their team desperately tried (and failed) to avoid the distinction of becoming the first team in NFL history to lose all 16 regular-season games. But can you really blame the fans?
If you can’t laugh with your team, you may as well laugh at them.
That said, there are quite a few fans shaking their fists at the heavens for allowing their team to fall so far less than a decade after becoming one of only four teams in the last 25 years to make back-to-back trips to the Finals after losing in its first appearance.
4) Washington Wizards
JaVale McGee rebounds...and dishes it back out to that guy who’s taken over point for Gilbert Arenas—uh, I mean Randy Foye...and...ZZZZZzzzz.
After handing over Antawn Jamison to their former rival Cavaliers on a silver platter for absolutely nothing due to reasons that can never be justified its difficult to find remotely watchable left about the Wizards.
The way the Wizards lost Caron Butler, Gilbert Arenas, and Jamison in the course of a few months is reminiscent of the breakup of Houston’s short-lived big three: Yao Ming, Ron Artest, and Tracy McGrady— but at least Houston feigned contention for a while. Washington never really put up a fight.
The most frustrating thing about this team is its failure to capitalize on what was supposed to be a breakout season. Instead, this team won’t even be a playoff contender for the foreseeable future.
3) Philadelphia 76ers
Allen Iverson certainly made the right choice in prioritizing the life of his daughter over the life of his professional career, but now there’s hardly any reason to watch the Sixers.
Sixer Nation: “Is that Amare Stoudemire coming over the hill?”
Sixer Management: “Nope.”
Sixer Nation: “Are we going to unload Elton Brand’s or Andre Iguodala’s contract and finally begin starting over?”
Sixer Management: “Nah.”
Sixer Nation: “Shouldn’t we do something before the trade deadline?!”
Sixer Management “All right, fine. We’ll just trade two of our garbage-time players and get two of Milwaukee’s in return....You're welcome.”
Combine all of this with the Sixers' staggeringly awful play, and they are really, really close to the cream of the crop here. The talent on this roster should result in at least a .500 record. Instead, the only real difference between the Sixers and the Nets is that the Nets have the potential to get better in the future.
With the aforementioned megacontracts of Iguodala and Brand, the Sixers are stuck in neutral—and they just won’t go downhill quickly enough to offer any hope for the future.
Injury to insult: At least when the Sixers were losing before, they were doing so with a modicum of style. GM Ed Stefanski should make an appearance before a firing squad for bringing the Sixers’ bland, hideous logo back from the grave.
2) Detroit Pistons
The DEEEETTROOOYYYTTT BAASKETBAHLL days exist only In ESPN Classic’s video clips now.
The controversial Allen Iverson-Chauncey Billups trade took far too much of the blame for Detroit’s descent, but losing a leader like Billups, even for a talent like A.I., is never a good thing.
Rip Hamilton led the rest of the team in saying all the right things prior to the start of the season, promising that they would be a surprise to the rest of the league and that these “new look” Pistons would pride themselves on offense. Instead, they’re second-to-last in the league in points scored per game and are only two losses removed from sharing the bottom of the conference with the lowly Nets.
Nobody thought that the “Bad Boys II” Pistons would last forever, but no one thought that their run of six-straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances would end so anticlimactically.
It’s one thing if your team has a history of losing, but to many fans, the days of Detroit’s dominance seem as though they were just yesterday. In reality, they couldn’t be further away.
1) Los Angeles Lakers
Sixty-five wins, an emerging Andrew Bynum, and an NBA Championship—all before welcoming defensive stalwart Ron Artest on board in the offseason. And what do the L.A. Lakers have to show for it now?
The Lakers' chances of winning the No. 1 overall seed are shot, their record against the league’s top teams is pedestrian at best—and amid all the rumors and lack of cohesion, this team could be headed for a repeat of the massive team blowup of 2004.
The Lakers have shown signs of excellence—even the potential to be historic—but only in flashes.
How would the Lakers go forward after their second- consecutive start of winning at least seven of their first eight games? By getting stomped into the hardwood by the Denver Nuggets.
How would they respond to capping off their then-10- game winning streak by holding the Utah Jazz to six points in the fourth quarter? Only by losing to them by near double figures three nights later.
How would the Lakers avenge their biggest deficit in a loss this season when Denver came to visit without Carmelo Anthony? By pulling up front row seats to watch Chauncey Billups shoot the lights out beyond the arc and lead his team to a 13-point victory.
The 47-18 record the Lakers are in possession of would be great for most teams in the league—but not the Lakers. Not these Lakers.
Some (myself included) had picked them to win 70 games this year. Instead, they would be fortunate to finish with 60 and remain in possession of the West’s top seed—and that’s sickening.
The Celtics were closer to making a debut on this list than you may think, but they narrowly avoided it because they legitimately seem to be doing all they can. It just seems time has run out on them.
The Lakers have no excuse. They have the best center in the Western Conference, a top-three power forward, a top-three defender, the best sixth man and coach the game has to offer, and a shooting guard named Kobe Bryant.
Why is this not translating into more wins?
Have the Lakers become complacent champions? With the No. 1 overall record out of reach, have they just become disinterested in the regular season? Worse—are there problems in L.A.’s locker room hampering their on-court production?
Either way, the Lakers need to find answers now. They aren’t as far away from following in the Celtics’ footsteps as they may think.